Minnesota Hospital Association


November 24, 2014

MHA Newsline: Nov. 24, 2014

In this issue 

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving

The board and staff of MHA wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. Special thanks to hospital staff who sacrifice time away from their families to provide high quality care to patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are thankful for you. return to top   

Ebola preparedness efforts continue

MHA would like to recognize the commitment of Minnesota hospitals to ensure the state stands ready should a case of Ebola develop in the state. For months you have been training and drilling caregivers and staff on how to deliver optimal care safely; communicating and coordinating efforts with MDH, MHA and other health care providers; evaluating facilities for appropriate isolation space; and ensuring that the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies are available. The state of readiness in Minnesota is high thanks to your continued engagement.   

Best practices for procuring PPE 

Since the issuance of the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on Oct. 20, there has been a sudden increase in demand for PPE. On Nov. 20, CDC posted suggestions for how hospitals can find supplies needed for training and use in evaluation and/or treatment of patients with suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola. The recommendations can be found here. It’s important to remember that the PPE needed to protect health care workers may not be the same in all settings of care. CDC provides recommendations related to PAPRs and N95 in its recent guidance. A number of factors determine the type of PPE needed as well as the appropriate sequence for donning and doffing, including what you have available and have trained on, the types of care that will be provided, patient status and the layout of your facility. Once you have determined a set of PPE that provides adequate protection for staff within the CDC recommendations, it’s very important to train staff and repeatedly practice donning and doffing. CDC also recommended during its visit to Minnesota that glow germ and mirrors could be very helpful in the donning and doffing process. Please refer to the following guidance from CDC: 

CDC also issued interim guidance for managers and workers handling untreated sewage from individuals with Ebola. The guidance includes recommendations for workers on the types of PPE to be used and proper hygiene for safe handling of untreated sewage that may contain Ebola virus. 

Your hospital infection preventionist may want to consider consulting with peers in your region and APIC-MN regarding PPE equipment and donning/doffing sequencing. Further questions can be directed to MDH at 651-201-5414. return to top   

CMS issues memo on Ebola-related EMTALA requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a memo to state survey agencies outlining requirements and implications of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act related to Ebola. The memo states every hospital or critical access hospital emergency department should be able to screen for Ebola and immediately isolate individuals who meet the criteria for potentially having Ebola. CMS states emergency departments should contact their state or local public health officials to determine if Ebola testing is needed; and when the decision to test is made, the ED should provide treatment, using appropriate isolation precautions until it is determined whether the individual does or does not have Ebola. If an individual tests positive for Ebola, hospitals are expected to comply with state or local public health guidance in determining whether they have the capability to provide appropriate stabilizing treatment on site or whether to initiate transfer. These requirements are aligned with the preparations Minnesota’s hospitals have been working on to ensure any patient in Minnesota can be properly identified, isolated and transferred to one of the four hospitals designated for Ebola treatment. return to top   

Protect yourself and patients from flu; still time to participate in FluSafe

As hospitals across the state prepare to identify, isolate and care for patients with Ebola it’s important to not forget to ensure our hospitals are protected for influenza season. Influenza can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Anyone can get very sick from the flu, including people who are otherwise healthy. Unvaccinated health care workers are at risk for getting the flu from patients and coworkers who are sick with the flu. And if a health care workers gets the flu, he or she can spread it to others even if they don’t feel sick. Health care worker vaccination helps protect yourself, your family at home, and your patient. 

The last day for new facilities to register for FluSafe is Monday, Dec. 1. FluSafe is Minnesota's health care worker vaccination program for hospitals and nursing homes. Go to Participate in FluSafe for more information and to register. Facilities that completed the program last season do not need to re-register this year. return to top   

House of Representatives announces committee chairs

The new House Republican leadership has announced the committee chairs and structure for the 2015-16 legislative sessions. The committees are the first step in the process for a bill to become law.  Members of the committees are traditionally named by mid-December. The committees and chairs related to health care and funding are: 

  • Aging & Long-Term Care Policy – Rep. Joe Schomacker (R – Luverne)   
  • Health & Human Services Finance – Rep. Matt Dean (R – Dellwood) 
  • Health & Human Services Reform – Rep. Tara Mack (R – Apple Valley) 
  • Ways & Means – Rep. Jim Knoblach (R – Saint Cloud) 

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University of Minnesota offers PPE and Ebola preparedness training

The University of Minnesota School of Public Health offers a ½ day personal protective equipment training course geared toward hospital first receivers, nurses, ER personnel, facilities, environmental services/housekeeping and safety/security personnel dealing with biological hazards, including Ebola.  

The four-hour course, which is offered onsite, includes an extensive review of the incident command system, personal protective equipment, donning/doffing, how to select the right PPE, decontamination, and emergency response. All materials, equipment and a variety of CEU are provided.   

For more information, contact the University's Hazardous Materials training program at 612-624-6023 or 612-626-0900. A video of hospital decontamination course recent training is listed at www.hazmat.umn.edu under Emergency Preparedness. Space is limited to 15 participants. return to top   

MnTAP launches new web resource for health care

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) recently launched a new health care industry portal to connect industry with pollution prevention and regulatory resources. The new information is navigable by topic or type of facility. Topics include regulatory resources focused on waste, as well as sustainability resources such as infection prevention, energy efficiency, and waste reduction and recycling. 

MnTAP provides resources to the health care industry to increase resource efficiency, reduce waste, reduce costs and increase regulatory compliance. Visit MnTAP’s website to learn more. 

MnTAP is also seeking project proposals from Minnesota businesses for its 2015 summer intern program. Organizations interested in reducing waste, conserving water and improving energy efficiency are encouraged to apply for an intern by Feb. 1, 2015. Proposed projects are evaluated for impact potential, project scope and organization interest and commitment. Apply onlinereturn to top   

Forum to discuss medical malpractice reform

The University of Minnesota is offering a free event focused on medical malpractice reform. Prof. Michelle Mello from Stanford Law School and Stanford Medical School will diagnose problems with the current malpractice system and offer empirically-based solutions to create a new paradigm of accountability for safe care. 

The forum will take place Thursday, Dec. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Johnson Great Room, McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota. Learn more here.  return to top